Oregon Governor proposes statewide cuts to mental health care

Ted Kulongoski

Ted Kulongoski

Again Governor Ted Kulongoski has made a budget recommendation which cuts mental health and addiction treatment for low income and no income Oregonians.

See – The Governor’s Message: A Budget for Progress in Challenging Times

From the budget summary,

Providing Mental Health and Addiction Services

Mental health and addiction services: Expansions of coverage in the Oregon Health Plan will leverage federal dollars and provide funding for mental health and addiction services for 100,000 low-income individuals through OHP. Addiction and mental health services for adults who are not eligible for Medicaid will be scaled back by reducing funding for community-based mental health services, acute inpatient psychiatric care, alcohol and drug treatment services.

Building a new Oregon State Hospital: The Governor’s budget invests $40 million for 540 additional staff, including doctors, nurses and mental health technicians for the new state psychiatric facility currently under construction in Salem. The new hospital will help keep up to 620 adults who need long-term psychiatric hospitalization healthy and safe, support them in treatment and enhance their ability to live independently. The Governor’s budget also funds a second psychiatric hospital in Junction City.

EXTRA – Governor releases budget, predicts ‘hardship’, Portland Business Journal, 12 1 2008
EXTRA – State budget plan cuts services – Kulongoski’s proposal spares education and child-welfare protection, Salem Statesman Journal, 12 1 2008
EXTRA – The Governor’s Budget: Glossing Over the Pain, op ed by Steve Novick
EXTRA – Substance abuse treatment faces cuts in budget, Eugene Register-Guard, 12 1 2008
EXTRA – Kulongoski’s budget boosts schools, cuts human services, Oregonian 12 1 2008

OUR COMMENT: the planned Oregon State Hospital at Junction City is opposed by the Oregon Community Mental Health Coalition and by most mental health advocacy organizations, including the Mental Health Association of Portland.